Art Basel and the Wynwood Art District have helped raise the profile of this hip neighborhood, which is home to loft-living artists, independent galleries and design shops. Shoe designer
just opened a store in the area, and a vibrant culinary landscape has made it the hottest destination in town.
As you drive through the 18-block neighborhood, you'll find fancy design names such as Ann Sacks and Waterworks that prove that somebody's still buying $1,000 faucets. Fendi Casa, the Miami home of the accessories designer, sells its high-end wares on a 15,000-square-foot showroom, where Star Island decorators find $8,000 couches and chandleries that make a Fendi purse seem downright cheap. Nearby, Holly Hunt, Kartell and Janus et Cie offer outdoor furniture so stunning you would never want to expose them to the elements.
Unlike the design districts of New York or Los Angeles, Miami's version is also home to clothing shops, such as Y-3, Marni, and Miami-based Sebastien James. Nearby, boutique En Avance attracts a high-fashion following with racks of pieces by DSquared, Etro and Simon Miller in a glassy architectural space.
Just across the street, Bottega Venetta Creative Director Tomas Maier has debuted a self-titled boutique that got its start in Palm Beach, Fla., with an annex in Southampton, N.Y. The Design District outpost will be the largest of the three stores and features a second-floor gallery and rear bookstore to compliment the selection of $300 men's bathing suits, cashmere throws and women's casual wear.
When visitors are tired of shopping or browsing the Rubell Family Collection, the Miami Design District is all about food. The Design District's chefs and restaurants have created a reputation for innovative cuisine that distinguishes itself from the big-name chains in South Beach, such as Nobu and Bed.
At Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, a quirky bistro with an outdoor patio, chef Michael Schwartz presides over a casual wine bar and small dining room with chunky bank-style chairs and white-table cloths that look like a splattered food canvas.
The tapas-style menu dazzles with soul food-inspired dishes, such as crispy pig ear, and continental options, like tuna tartare with quail egg or wood-roasted egg with Gruyere and crostini. The standout dishes, such as the half "poulet rouge" and pork shoulder with cheese grits, should not be missed.
Just across the street, Miami wunderkind Michelle Bernstein chose the former-Domo Japonais space for her latest tapas-style eatery called
. The new venture by the James Beard Award-winning chef of Michy's occupies a slick white building that has a lively outdoor patio that's perfect for people watching.
Inside Sra. Martinez, guests find a moody multilevel dining room and stylish bar that doesn't require a reservation for solo diners. The tapas-style menu includes a heaping helping of fired artichokes with garlic aioli, jamon and cheese croquettes and grilled octopus. Heavier entrees include decadent short ribs, duck foie gras served in pastry shells and white fish worthy of Michelle's cult-like status.
Reported by Michael Martin at JetSetReport.com in Los Angeles.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.